Filling Up on Fiber
by Melissa Althen
"Whole Foods are certainly desirable as fiber sources because of the additional nutrients they contain, but often an additional source of fiber is necessary to meet FDA claims. Jim Mitchell, technical leader of fiber for Ciranda notes "most whole grains and fruits have associated antioxidants and micronutrients that are beneficial for health. Unfortunately, the insoluble tends to dominate many whole foods, so using whole foods to get a high amount of fiber can lead to the woody texture that is unappealing to most consumers. Supplementing whole grains, nuts or fruits with pure soluble fiber can provide a good option in terms of high fiber, acceptable texture, and all the benefits associated with both types of fiber.
Inulin, typically extracted from roots and rhizome sources, is a common source of soluble fiber and acts as a prebiotic as well. Although there are several varieties, inulin made from agave has a bland, slightly sweet flavor profile, and is highly adaptable, allowing formulators to boost fiber while at the same time reducing fat, sugar and flour in many applications. Inulin is hygroscopic and can help with humectancy in baked goods.